MegaMan Legacy Collection: The Best Games in the Franchise

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MegaMan is a beloved franchise that has had waves of support over the past few decades. There was an issue, though. The gap from MegaMan 10 to 11 was a pretty big one, being almost 10 years. Before 11 was announced, many thought the franchise to be dead before Capcom did something that surprised everyone; they announced MegaMan Legacy Collection 1 and 2, which were compilations of previous MegaMan games. People were hyped to revisit these great classics on new systems with revamped controls and extra features. 

MegaMan Legacy Collection 1 consists of MegaMan 1-6; the better of the two collections. The collection includes features that I found pretty enjoyable. There is a jukebox feature that allows you to listen to music across the six games. There is also a challenge mode which consists of remixed levels, boss rushes, and time attacks. The menu screens look so satisfying and are nice to navigate through. Each game has its own special features from special backgrounds to promotional artwork and character mockups. The collection even added a rewind feature, so that when a player messes up, they can rewind to the point before they messed up. 

The infamous Fireman fight. Iceman’s ability does help but not much.

Enough gushing over menus, time to talk about the actual games in the collection! The first game in the collection is MegaMan 1. There’s nothing special about the story of  MegaMan 1. Dr. Wily possesses 6 robot masters and MegaMan must stop them. In terms of gameplay, it controls well. The only real issue is that sometimes you move slower than you expect, you jump fairly slow, and your fire rate is fairly slow unless you use the turbo button (a button that counts as three simultaneous inputs). The stages are fairly bland compared to the rest of the series. Everything just feels like a recolored section instead of something that reflects the boss (e.g. Iceman’s stage just being icey blue and white. Not really much else). There are a lot of death pits, and enemies crowded near each other. Speaking of enemies, they are relentless and hunt you like crazy. I love the bosses of this game. They are a true test of skill and are extremely rewarding, except for one: Fireman. That boss fight felt ridiculously unfair and I spent a decent amount of my playthrough on that fight alone. The music is great, but not perfect. There are going to be tracks where you’re gonna think “Man, this bops.” Out of 10, I rate the first MegaMan an 8 out of 10. It’s a great intro to the series, but once you hit later entries it kind of pales in terms of graphics and gameplay. 

Airman’s stage which is on the most tedious, but also, most fun stages.

The next game is MegaMan 2 and I absolutely love this game. MegaMan 2 is probably my favorite in the franchise for a multitude of reasons and is also one of, if not the most, difficult game in the franchise. The story is the same thing: Stop Wily and his baddies from ruling the world. The story isn’t where the game excels though; it’s in everything else. Starting off with the stage design, for the most part they reflect their respective bosses and have mechanics that work accordingly (e.g. Bubbleman’s stage consists of jumping across platforms along the side of a waterfall, plunging into the water, and using float physics to avoid bombs that trace the ceiling and walls under the water). This game also includes what are probably some of the most memorable of the bosses, from Woodman to Metalman to Crashman. Even the basic enemies are memorable with birds that drop egg bombs, whales that send out shrimp minions, to Zeus-esque robots that fire lightning bolts at you. The game controls slightly better than MegaMan , but feels the same for the most part. The music in this is phenomenal, however! It all utterly bops and I could rock out to this soundtrack whenever. The difficulty is, sadly, much lower. The bosses are the hardest part of the game but are also the funnest. MegaMan 2 is one of my favorite MegaMan games and is an absolute blast! I rate this game a 9 out of 10. It’s only set back is that is has some issues from the first game and the difficulty being easier. 

MegaMan 3 changes things up a little in terms of story, gameplay, and even characters. Story wise, MegaMan 3 has Wily become a good guy and help Dr. Light create a robot named Gamma. Then, wouldn’t you know, the robotic masters go insane! On top of that, MegaMan has a brother who appears out of nowhere. Gameplay wise, there are major improvements. You control better, move a bit faster, and have a slide that helps move faster and avoid obstacles. The base enemies are a lot better in terms of design but difficulty wise not as much. This is far 

One of the many fights with ProtoMan, the best fights in MegaMan 3.

easier than the first two games which is kind of disappointing, but it doesn’t really take away from the fun. The levels follow their themes more now and look really nice in comparison to stages in older games. This game also introduces Rush, MegaMan’s pet dog, and replaces an ability set that was in the previous games. Rush also controls better than these previous abilities and is more fun to use. The music is okay, nothing as memorable as the other games other than ProtoMan’s theme, which is an absolute banger. There is a very obvious “twist” ending that becomes a trope in the series and is kind of uninspired. I rate this game an 8.5 out of 10. This again is a banger, and it doesn’t need to be super hard to be that way. I had a lot of fun with this and consider it my second favorite of the series.

One of those obnoxious endless spike pits I talked about.

Next up is MegaMan 4, which is where the series starts its decline. The game does one thing better, and that’s a somewhat better story. A scientist named Cossack created new robot masters to destroy MegaMan and take over the world. After your final boss fight with him, you find out that Cossack was actually being forced to work for Wily! Wily did this by capturing Cossack’s daughter, Kalinka, who was later saved by ProtoMan. Nothing too fabulous, but more than previous entries. In terms of the music, it was okay. There are a fair amount of forgettable tracks but there are some okay songs and a banger or two. Difficulty wise, there are some fairly easy levels but other than that the difficulty stays fairly moderate. It doesn’t get super hard but it doesn’t hold your hand. The difficulty more so comes from the enemies than the actual stages. Speaking of, the stages look great. The only issue is that the game doesn’t offer challenging obstacles and limits ways to get around certain areas (e.g. a massive area of spikes that would automatically kill you unless you use Rush Jet to fly across). The game controls somewhat better than the previous entries and even includes some fun abilities, though some of them can only really be used in specific situations (e.g. Flash stopper, which stops time, can only really be used against a boss and one type of generic enemy). The game introduces the Megabuster to the series, which allows you to charge up shots. It controls a little weirdly, but it gets the job done and  it is a great addition. As always, the enemy designs are on point! One generic enemy I remember well were the mummies on Pharoah Man’s level, and they would unravel their heads and send them flying towards you. I would rate this game a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a lot of fun and has a more developed plot than most MegaMan games, but some things just don’t sit right like the lack of experimentation to solve problems and some mildly boring boss fights. 

MegaMan 5 was nothing too spectacular, but it is also one of those games

Protoman’s castle: I promise you that it’s a struggle simply to get to the boss inside.

that had a better plot and looked even better than the previous games. In terms of the plot, it turns out that ProtoMan has become a villain! He has gathered a team of evil robots, set up a fortress, and planned to take over the world! But there is a twist, which I will not reveal in this review. Also in terms of its design and look, this game looks phenomenal for the hardware it was made on. The sprite work is on point and the backgrounds are mesmerizing. In terms of difficulty, it was about the same. No bosses were overly hard, other than ProtoMan’s castle which was really annoying, but in a fun way. Most of the mechanics are the same other than the Megabuster. The Megabuster charges and fires better, but there is a new thing called that the MegaMan community has called the “lose charge” stat. The “lose charge” stat is activated when you are shot after charging the Megabuster, and all charge is depleted. The game also introduces Beat, a robotic bird who can save you from pit falls. There isn’t much to talk about for MegaMan 5, other than it’s more of MegaMan 4 with an even more interesting story and slightly better looks and mechanics. I’m going to rate this 7.5 out of 10. Even though the gameplay is more of the same, the graphics are phenomenal for the console and it has the strongest story so far out of the collection.

Finally is MegaMan 6, the last game in the collection. If I’m being honest, this is the worst out of the collection. It’s just super mediocre in comparison to the other 5 games. First off, the story just stinks with mediocrity. There is a new scientist that possesses robotic gladiators and tries to take over the world before you find out that, oh no, it’s time to stop Dr. Wily… again. Nothing more, which is disappointing since the last game had a pretty good plot in comparison. The graphics and sprite work are still great though. Probably the most disappointing thing is the boring music. The music was uninspired and nothing in this could have been considered anything close to a bop. The game does add these things called Rush Adapters ,which are forms MegaMan takes when he fuses with Rush. They make the game easier, but they open up levels by unlocking secret areas and allow with more experimentation. I kind of liked what they did with the robotic masters, where they all weren’t just based around elements. You also had ones that were based on a centaur, a knight, and a tomahawk wielding Native American (the robot just has the feather hat and tomahawk, nothing else that could be considered a racial stereotype). That’s really all I can talk about. That’s how bland this is in comparison to the others. I would rate it a 6.5 out of 10. By comparison, this game is just bland and only really has a few memorable aspects to it. 

MegaMan Legacy collection was a trip! There is so much to it that I didn’t cover that you just have to check out yourself. The games in it are amazing and are the highpoint of the MegaMan franchise, also the addition of challenges and special features add replayability to the collection. I rate this collection a 10 out of 10. The games aren’t perfect, but all of them together make for a perfect collection that should be on many people’s “soon to play” list. I just love everything this game has to offer. This also means I am now down to 25 pieces of MegaMan media for MegaMan’s 32nd birthday. Next I will be reviewing the second part of the Legacy collection (which is a low point in the franchise in my opinion).